With jury selection expected to begin on Monday, the Washington Post reports that Steve Bannon is looking at a very brief trial followed by conviction based upon U.S. District Court Judge Carl J. Nichols's rulings and comments to date that seems to suggest the former advisor to Donald Trump may want to work out a deal with prosecutors.
As the Post's Devlin Barrett and Spencer Hsu write, every legal maneuver Bannon and his attorneys have attempted has fallen apart as he has tried to get out from under contempt of Congress charges.
In a telling exchange last week, exasperated Bannon attorney David Shoen asked the judge, “What’s the point of going to trial if there are no defenses?” to which the judge curtly answered, “Agreed.”
"The exchange was a remarkable comedown for the combative, bombastic Bannon team that live-streamed his declaration, 'we’re taking down the Biden regime' as he surrendered to the FBI in late 2021 on charges he had illegally flouted the House committee probing Jan. 6," the report states before adding, "The judge’s response was a lawyerly way of urging Bannon to seek a plea deal with the government, rather than face long odds at a short trial."
That is the opinion of Randall Eliason, a George Washington University law professor, who explained, "Obviously everyone’s entitled to a trial, but usually if you go to trial there’s some kind of legal or factual dispute that needs to be resolved. The judge’s point is, there aren’t really any here … In those instances, going to trial becomes what prosecutors sometimes call a long guilty plea.”
Bannon's last-ditch chance to forestall the trial, based on claims of executive privilege went down in flames, and now following the seating of the jury, prosecutors are expected to make the trial swift and brutal.
"Jury selection in the case is due to begin Monday, and the trial is likely to be brief — prosecutors say their case will take a day, and given the judge’s limitations on which witnesses Bannon can call and what issues he can raise, it’s unclear how long Bannon’s own case may take, or if he will testify," the report states.
According to Eliason, who also previously served as a federal prosecutor, Bannon likely wants to go forward with the trial no matter how hopeless it is.
“Maybe it’s just a show to him, one where he can play the MAGA martyr and use it to raise his profile. That’s not a legal reason to go to trial but it may be enough of a reason for him,” he explained.
You can read more here.